Category Archives: Music

All the Way to Memphis and Toledo

So.

I bought the album for some reason. Mott the Hoople Live. Probably, before I'd boughten it, I'd only heard one song from it on FM radio. Undoubtedly the front and back covers made an impression. Anyway, the first song on the first side was called All the Way to Memphis. It's great, with a tinkly, funky, sad, happy and powerful little piano riff on the front. The piano was played by Morgan Fisher. The song is about going to Memphis, obviously. That song was my favorite.

So, about 25 years later, I was in Tokyo and thrilled to be asked to photograph the American South, for a Japanese magazine. The same day I learned of my flight confirmation to Memphis... Morgan Fisher called! He lives in Tokyo and we had plans to meet, but it was still one of those synchronistic little events that make one wonder.

Anyhoo... I just saw this poster in Bangkok.

vintage rock posters

discovered in Bangkok, 2018

And, for what it's worth, the lead singer of Mott the Hoople once put on one of the best live shows I've ever seen. Ian Hunter. The opening act was John Cougar Mellencamp who performed with his head wrapped in bandages; the result of a mishap the night before. Toledo Sports Arena, 1977?

I am writing this in Chiang Mai Thailand at dawn, April 17, 2018.

Mare Vaporum: Open Source Video Material/Artwork

tribute to Alfred Steiglitz

Artists, musicians, filmmakers, poets, theatre people, CG artists, GIF artist, data scientists, ANYONE...Feel free to use this video for any noncommercial project you like. Let me know how you use it and I will promote your project. Commercial projects: I am sure we can work something out.

SOME POSSIBILITIES: - visuals for ambient, flute, or piano soundtrack/music video - elements for any kind of music video - cutaways or structural elements for a film - theatre backdrops/projections - mashups with other videos - video reformatted into other GIFs (FWIW the file size below is 5.42 megs) - stills accompanying texts, like short stories or poems

Mare Vaporum

    WHAT: Shot on an iPhone near Kuala Lumpur. There was no goal, other than to capture the moment.

    WHO:

    Stephen Black

    NOTES

    I am interested in, and have been writing about, hands and haptics. Also, I am now rewriting a collection of stories and essays called Touching JB, in which tactile sensations figure prominently. And then there are my startup plans...

    gif.com screencaptures

    GIF possibilities created and suggested by gifs.com algorithms gif.com

    The GIF below was created by the algorithms at gifs.com. It was extremely simple. Thanks to this article on Gtricks. I learned how to upload on gifs.com .
    Gif artwork

    Gif artwork

    This project is a collaboration with the software and algorithms of gifs.com About the fingernails... they were real. I will write about this later, but they were a personal art project.

Exciting New Cemetery @Isetan Wisma Atria

stephen black exciting new cemetery; involvement with tiong bahru mouth, 3how, photography, Obama Search Words,video,Lorong 16,self-publishing, Fires, Singapore art from 1965-2017, Singapore Personal Art Metadata,SPOKEN,Furikake,limited editions,Contact With Shadow, the art of conversation,Flame Magnet, thumb-shaped kways, Big Homer,Beach Road, Bali Wave Ghost and i ate tiong bahru @ isetan wisma atria from September 6-October 3 The Stephen Black is present everyday except Monday. This will be finalized very soon, but will involve talks,books by Stephen Black, exhibited artworks, digital artworks,artworks for sale, free screenings of the Beach Road 360VR movie, hands on interaction with SPOKEN, the virtual gallery co-created with Eugene Soh and much, much more.... exciting new cemetery jpeg

Silent State logo tests

Silent State is the name of a new musical project by Amith Narayan, Wilson Goh, Justin Bannister and Siva Saravanan. The following are simple tests made with MS Paint. At some point I hope I can invest the time to learn Pshop or the equivalent, but for now the following do the job as starting points for discussion. The last one is, perhaps, the most exciting. It also requires a delicate sensibility and the experience to combine a handwritten word with an authoritarian block font. Amith had suggested that green or grey could be used. Those choices could work, but with the following I was, obviously, just working with the idea of negative space... as well as a limited selection of fonts and the bare bones positioning capabilities of MS Paint. Re: the music. It is a treat.  For those of you who don't know, Justin is a keyboard genius from the great state of Michigan, Siva has done outstanding work as a percussionist and composer of award-winning movie soundtracks, Wilson is an award-winning choral singer and Amith's band The Unseen Guest continues to get more fans and praise for their two albums. And then there is 3how... almost silent state sil state silent state 2 lines silent state almost nice silent silent state close silent state red and blackuntitledstate01 (1)

Orange Song Blues (inspired by a painting by Picasso)

the first blog post of this series is here. I have been involved with bands, musicians and music production all my life. My last "proper" project was  co-producing The Riverwalk Session by 3how. So...Picasso.  Music... I am working on a piece of interactive fiction that combines my original story ideas with factual information about a painting Picasso painted in 1921.Here is a great description of interactive fiction, as well as the Interactive Fiction Competition which I am determined to enter. At the moment, I am focusing on music/a song which would be heard beneath the end credits. I would prefer to create something new, working with musicians, vocalists and other people. I am now in Singapore/Bali. The music should be finished in the next three weeks. I have started work on lyrics and can suggest types of music, instrumentation, etc. that would reflect well on the story and the painting itself. But, although I am fortunate to have talented friends here, there is probably not enough time to create something new. Which means using existing music. The pluses to using are existing music are:
  1. It is completed and I know exactly what I am getting.
  2. No schedules to co-ordinate, no studios to book.
  3. No possible personality clashes.
  4. The legal side of things is simpler.
  5. The synergy of someone who has a "new" following/fan base.
The minuses of using existing music are;
  1. Difficult or impossible to use lyrics created to specifically reference the story.
  2. There is no creative process.
  3. Solitary, brief-lived enjoyment
I should also mention that that there is no budget for this project. Later, when it is finished, it will become  a game for sale as well as an ebook. There are other possibilities as well. I don't like asking people to do things "for the publicity". I would pay people if I could. But the best is working with people who are excited and focused, whether paid or not.  

The Orange Song (inspired by a painting by Picasso)

I am now driven to write a story, program a game and produce a song inspired by a 1921 painting by Picasso. The first collection of words follows below. The phrases been inspired by the painting itself, the works of Gertrude Stein, and Surrealism, one of several art movements Picasso was involved with. A sure start, but experimentation, additions, reduction and refinement  are on the horizon. I am most concerned that the phrases are interesting, but possibly lacking a sense of character; emotion. Another issue is the present lack of rhythm. Other posts about this project will follow.The second post is here.   Minotaur, minotaur on the wall… Who’s the fairest of them all?   Blood sweat and tears; Hidden but real. I am Olga, aiding an army transfer.   Curve an arm Cube a body His perspectives loud radios Mine are mine   Our moment is dead, our moment lives on.   Bull cracking rose Regret dragging grace Shaming pride Our  bottle gains life a guitar takes off its clothes   One dances a duet Calculus, surrender and furs. infant ever after   Elegant excitement burnt a weary-making fury weight of smoke, after him in public.   Our moment lives on, our moment is dead.   His oil and cardboard heart exuberant red hole ghost, Music shapes a piece of pain, a rose on fire, the horns of the rain.  

Rizal Abdulhadi at Casa Luna, Ubud February 26, 2016

Rizal Abdullhadi and Andro Yopi...original songs, original instruments and classic good times...
original bamboo instruments

Rizal and Risendriya at Casa Luna, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

bassist IMG_7379 Rizal looking down strumming IMG_7374Rizal lights in glasses IMG_7395 More Balinese musicians here. Rizal's homepage. Rizal frontal serious darkIMG_7394Rizal bassist diagonal facesIMG_7399Riza audience man bassis black and whiteIMG_7401Rizal and bassist audience framing IMG_7417Rizal and bassist singing flash IMG_7410Rizal and bassist w flash IMG_7409 ... and yep, I was lucky to read on stage and be accompanied by Rizal!

Contemporary Music made in, or influenced by, Bali

Music.

A book called Bali Wave Ghost.

I have selected the following pieces of music/videos with the hope of starting something. What is it I want to start? Not sure exactly, yet, but some type of promotional collective. The goal is simple: I would like to promote music made in, or influenced by, Bali and my book, Bali Wave Ghost.

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Hopefully things will be positive and expand and other creatives and businesses can join as well. For now, though I would like to simply share the music. I post the following links with a great deal of respect and have contacted, or will contact, all musicians... Hopefully there will be additions, changes and growth…

Terima kaseh

Onward,

Stephen Black

Please let me know about the musicians I have missed...

Rizal Abdulhadi at TEDx with an instrument of his own making.

Photos of Rizal performing at Casa Luna.

Ryan Teague is a UK-based musician and composer who has studied Javanese gamelan in Bali and Yogyakarta.

Cellomano/Algimiro Cesarino A Venezuelan who has played and recorded in Bali. I had the privilege of having Algimiro spontaneously performing while I read from Bali Wave Ghost. Here is his Soundcloud page. Here is a video of the last part of our completely improvised performance.

Gilles Saïssi is someone I've seen perform several times; he is not easily categorized. Here is a sample with video. Gilles' musical pages are The Isaïs Metaphysical Project and Persahabatan Project.

Miyoshi Masato!

Unlocking With Ears: John Zorn

John has a zillion styles...Google him. Little Bittern with Marc Ribot John Zorn with Book of Angels

Checkpoint, by The Unseen Guest: notes about their second album

Well... if you know about 3how, then you know about me and Amith and the various projects we've worked on, including live concerts, theatre, musicals and The Riverwalk Session. But, before 3how, Amith was part of the  team that recorded two albums under the name of The Unseen Guest. I was fortunate to be around at the time the CDs were being made and had a hand in the layout of the artwork. The second album features photos I took in Myanmar, including the cover. Here is an excellent interview, with Amith and Declan, The Unseen Guest. The following text is something I wrote for Schott ,the record company that released the two Unseen Guest albums.. It is a tad bit commercial, but I hope its sincerity can be felt. The Unseen Guest really did produce some very very very good music. Google them. On Youtube you will see videos produced by fans, which says it all. Checkpoint, like the first album of The Unseen Guest, beautifully weaves two influences into a seamless whole. The instrumentation combines bluesy melodies (check out the harmonica work of Curtis King on Miracle Mile) with elements from pop, folk, rock and free jazz. To describe the album as a combination of the best of eastern and western musical styles would not be an exaggeration. The album closes with an excellent rendition of Leonard Cohen's Everybody Knows, which is familiar yet new, with a beautiful string arrangement. It is only on a second listening that the listener realizes that some of the album's sounds are distinctively Indian - percussion instruments like the dholaks on Ancient Greek, and the gan-jra on the Whitest Lie. The tablas pop nicely, the sax is rich and one can feel the dusty roads of India in Declan's voice. The listener receives a continual variety of pleasant surprises through-out! "Imagine a jailhouse where you're always free..." At times world weary, at times full of joy, Checkpoint is a traveller's diary, full of dualities and memories recorded on the spur of the moment. Not the cliches of East and West, but the stuff of novels and good movies: wanderlust versus security, love versus cynicism; the wildness of Saturday night and the regrets of Sunday morning. Checkpoint is an apt title for the Unseen Guest's second album. With it, Declan and Amith acknowledge the successful musical territory of their first album - but  keep moving forward. A solid collection of eleven songs, Checkpoint combines the best of two (or more) worlds. The Unseen Guest have produced yet another beautiful dusty snapshot of life on the road, one you can sing and dance to!
Color photo of musicians on stage

Amith Narayan, Declan Murray, Silvestro Studdu Mascali and Stefano Schiavocampo: The Unseen Guest in Europe, 2007

Checkpoint on cdbaby The Unseen Guest on Facebook